When you hear about tourism in Indonesia, one destination gets mentioned almost exclusively (HINT: it starts with a B). In case you are relatively new to the travel scene in Southeast Asia, this place is none other than Bali.
While it does live up to the hype in many respects, its overwhelming popularity has vastly overshadowed many other high quality Indonesian holiday destinations. Far from being fair, we thought we would use this post to highlight other locales that sit among this expansive nation’s 17,000 islands.
While Bali virtually has it all, its qualities can be found in the following three Indonesian holiday destinations…
Arts & Culture: Yogyakarta
Located close to the middle of Java, Indonesia’s most heavily populated island, Yogyakarta is home or sits close to a number of highly significant cultural landmarks. The first of these is Borobudur, which stands as the largest Buddhist temple complex in the world.
Also located within a quick day trip of this attractive town is Prambanan, a massive temple complex that was a centre of Hindu worship when the practitioners of this religion last ruled the area around the 9th century.
In town, the structures built by the first Islamic rulers of the area predominate, as the Kraton, and artisans in the area keep the age old batik craft movement alive, making for excellent souvenir shopping opportunities. Besides Yogyakarta, there are lots of other things to do in Java.
Getting in touch with nature: Labuan Bajo, Flores
If you’re looking to see the finest flora and fauna that can be found outside Bali, heading to the frontier-like town of Lubuan Bajo in Flores is your best bet. Despite the appearances of being on the edge of civilization, rapid development has made it an increasingly comfortable place to be based on a quick holiday.
Located a quick ferry ride from here is Komodo National Park, home to the infamous Komodo Dragon. Trained guides will allow to view this fascinating but dangerous lizard up close in its home environment, but if this doesn’t appeal to you, there are many waterfall treks, snorkeling and diving expeditions to keep you busy.
Beach bliss: Lombok
Maybe all this talk of activity and ambition is tiring you out. If you rather just bliss out on a perfect beach somewhere other than Bali, then Lombok is an excellent alternative. Located within a short ferry ride of Bali, Lombok is close by, varies considerably from its cousin.
The Wallace Line, a biogeographical line where the Southeast Asian biome ends and the Australasian one begins, separates it from Bali in terms of flora and fauna, which are completely different in composition despite the short distance between the two islands, and the vibe here is much more relaxed compared to the go-go-go pace of Kuta Beach.
If you wish to share a beach with younger travelers, than the Gili Islands just offshore are a solid choice, while those looking for a bit more quiet and solitude to their beach holiday will find Senggigi to be to their liking.